The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Beautifully told story of origins

GWoB

This was my first Louisa Morgan book and what I can say is that I really enjoyed it, and it certainly won’t be my last.  In fact, in that respect I have a question about this author’s other books – do I need to read them in a certain order?  I think all the books are standalone stories but just thought I’d check.

Anyway, this book tells the story of Ursule Orchiere, how she came to know magic, her ability to read the ancient Grimoire passed down by the Orchiere women and the tenacious way she holds together her family.

The story starts when Ursule is a young girl and we get a feel for the life she lives.  Her mother tells fortunes and Ursule collects the coins.  Ursule has been fed stories of the Orchiere women and their magic and longs to inherit magic of her own and be part of the story.  These are difficult times for women.  Witch hunters obsessively search for their next victim to feed the flames and women with knowledge of herb lore are persecuted.

I loved the way Ursule tells her story.  The scene is set really well and I just found myself sinking into the tale with ease.  There is a palpable sense of fear and a genuine feeling of helplessness amongst the travellers.  Gangs of men literally swoop indiscriminately through the camps snatching up women to terrorise and torture.  Ursule’s mother finds herself accused and from here things take a different turn but I won’t go further into the story.

What really appealed to me with this story is that it was so easy to get into.  The sense of period is beautifully evoked.  The hard lives that people led really comes across well and the strong family ties also simply ooze off the page.  If you put the witching elements to one side this feels like an impressively rendered historic piece and the descriptions and writing just pulled me in.  It just felt like an incredibly comforting read somehow – which, given the darker elements of the story, is an impressive achievement.

On top of this I really liked Ursule and her familiar Drom.  I’m not sure that any of the other characters were as well drawn but given that Ursule is the central figure I didn’t have any issues with this.  In fact, the other characters felt almost greyed out which felt somehow appropriate given the lonely way Ursule lives.  She is a loner, not necessarily by choice, and in fact even though she eventually feels as though she’s surrounded herself with loved ones she still very much comes across as a lone figure.

In terms of criticisms I don’t have any.  I can say that this is not a book that you can read quickly and to be honest I don’t think you should try to wolf this down in a couple of sittings.  This is a book to be savoured and enjoyed. So, if you fancy a piece, very female centric, focusing on witchcraft and strong family ties, that actually has a kind of payback for the magic used, then give this a go.  It really is a delicious morsel.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  It felt like the right book at the right time and it worked really well for me.  A lovely story of inherited magic and one woman’s life and struggles.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

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9 Responses to “The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan”

  1. Tammy

    I just skimmed because I haven’t started this yet. But I’ve read all her books, and my favorite to date is The Witch’s Kind, you MUST read it! And The Secret History of Witches has some of the same characters as this book, but I don’t think you have to read it first. I’m so glad you loved it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think that’s the book I have on my kindle – so I must prioritise it.
      Lynn 😀

  2. pagesandtea

    This sounds really good. I have The Secret History of Witches already so will probably push that closer to the top of my TBR list and add this one to my wishlist.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think this one is actually a prequel of sorts to The Secret History of Witches but that being said I think all these books can be read individually. I have another by this author waiting tbr – I need to check which one.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I noticed this book on the latest Orbit newsletter and the short synopsis intrigued me: now, thanks to your review, I will certainly add it to my TBR because it sounds like a very immersive story. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it but then a historical style fiction with witches and predominantly female focused – what’s not to love!
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by her so far, so I’m really looking forward to this one!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I need to work my way back now. I wouldn’t call this a quick read but I loved picking it up and was always keen to get back to the story. Very evocative.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan […]

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